For most of the nearly 200 high school athletes who gathered at Snapdragon Stadium on Wednesday to sign a National Letter of Intent at an event sponsored by the San Diego Sports Association, the pressure is off.
College decisions have been made, and the athletes can relax and play.
It’s a little different for Jack Haferkamp, one of five Santa Fe Christian athletes to sign, joining golfer Luke Bailey (Pepperdine), football player Kevin Olan (Johns Hopkins), soccer player Dylan Mafong (Boston College) and gymnast Ryan Noonan (Kentucky). Haferkamp is one of 19 baseball players to sign a National Letter of Intent.
Haferkamp has signed with UC Santa Barbara, one of the top college programs in the West.
The 6-foot-4 center fielder is also one of the top pro prospects in the country. He’s the best high school prospect in San Diego, projected right now to be drafted around the seventh round.
That, however, can change with a good school season.
“I chose UC Santa Barbara because it has a culture of winning,” Haferkamp said. “I want to play pro ball, and think this is the best fit for me.
“They have a great player development program.”
A second-team All-CIF selection last season, Haferkamp hit .493 with six homers, six doubles and 22 RBIs.
While he’s considered a raw prospect, scouts say he has a plus-arm and great speed, clocking an extremely swift 6.29 seconds in the 60-yard dash at a Perfect Game event, a baseball measuring stick for speed.
Anything under 7.0 is considered fast.
“Signing won’t change anything for me because I play every game as if it’s my last,” Haferkamp said. “College is the next part of the dream.”
Once he enters college, he must stay three years before being eligible for the draft again. So the dream of pro ball could come quickly if Haferkamp has a big senior season.
“We have a lot of returning guys, and the team is buying into what the coaches are preaching,” Haferkamp said. “So that’s exciting.
“As for me, I’ll be bigger, stronger and faster than last season.”
He’s also a Student Section Leader with the responsibility of getting Santa Fe Christian students to drive to Grossmont for Friday’s CIF playoff football game.
“I embrace leadership,” Haferkamp said. “I have a platform this season as a senior, and I’ll be more vocal.”
This was the first of several NCAA signing days and was for Division 1 basketball players as well as all other Division 1 and Division 2 athletes.
The next signing day is Dec. 20, the early Division 1 football period.